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These plants, funghi and insect illustrations
are part of my botanical oracle deck

Matricaria chamomilla | Chamomile

Botanical Overview of Chamomile

  • Scientific Name: Matricaria chamomilla

  • Common Names: Chamomile, German Chamomile, Wild Chamomile

  • Family: Asteraceae

  • Description: Chamomile is an annual herb known for its dainty, daisy-like flowers with white petals surrounding a yellow central disc. The plant grows up to 60 cm tall, featuring thin, feathery leaves that are finely divided. Chamomile’s flowers emit a pleasant, apple-like fragrance, which intensifies when the plant is crushed.

matricaria chamomila botanical illustration

Properties of Chamomile

  • Chemical Constituents: Contains essential oils (including chamazulene, bisabolol, and farnesene), flavonoids, coumarins, and sesquiterpene lactones.

  • Edibility: Chamomile flowers are commonly used to make herbal teas, renowned for their mild, soothing flavor and numerous health benefits. The flowers can also be used to flavor dishes, infuse into oils, or as a decorative garnish in culinary applications.

Distribution and Habitat of Chamomile

  • Native Range: Europe and Western Asia.

  • Preferred Habitat: Chamomile thrives in open, sunny areas with well-drained soil. It is commonly found growing in fields, meadows, and along roadsides. It adapts well to cultivation and is often grown in gardens and farms worldwide for its medicinal and aromatic properties.

Medicinal Properties and Uses of Chamomile

  • Traditional Uses: Chamomile has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, anxiety, and skin conditions. Chamomile tea was traditionally consumed to relieve stomach discomfort, promote relaxation, and enhance sleep.

  • Modern Applications: Today, chamomile remains a popular herbal remedy. It is widely used in teas, extracts, and topical preparations. Chamomile is renowned for its ability to soothe digestive upsets, reduce inflammation, and promote restful sleep. It is also used in skincare products for its gentle, calming effects on irritated or sensitive skin. Chamomile essential oil is valued in aromatherapy for its stress-relieving and mood-enhancing properties.

Magical Correspondences and Uses of Chamomile in Magical Practice

  • Element: Water

  • Planet: Sun, Mercury

  • Magical Properties: Prosperity, protection, healing, and purification.

  • Uses: Chamomile is highly regarded in magical practices for its protective and purifying qualities. It is often used in spells and rituals to ward off negative energy and promote peace and tranquility. Sprinkling chamomile around the home or adding it to bathwater is believed to cleanse and purify the environment, creating a serene and harmonious space. Chamomile is also associated with prosperity and is used in money-drawing spells and charms to attract financial abundance. In healing rituals, chamomile is used to support physical and emotional recovery, offering comfort and nurturing energy. The plant’s calming influence makes it a powerful ally in spells designed to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance sleep.

Folklore, Legends, and Mythology of Chamomile

  • Historical Context: Chamomile has been revered since ancient times for its medicinal and therapeutic benefits. The Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their gods for its healing properties and used it to treat fevers and other ailments. The plant was also a staple in medieval herb gardens, valued for its versatile applications and pleasant aroma.

  • Folklore: In European folklore, chamomile was considered a symbol of resilience and strength due to its ability to thrive in adverse conditions. It was believed that planting chamomile near sick plants would revive them and promote their growth. Chamomile was also used in rituals to attract good luck and was often carried as a charm to ensure success and protection.

  • Mythology: The name “Matricaria” is derived from the Latin word “mater,” meaning mother, reflecting the plant’s gentle and nurturing qualities. Chamomile was associated with the Greek sun god Helios, symbolizing warmth and vitality. In Roman mythology, chamomile was linked to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, further highlighting its connection to soothing and harmonizing energies.

Historical Literary Sources

  • Dioscorides’ "De Materia Medica": Discusses the various medicinal uses of chamomile, particularly its role in treating digestive and inflammatory conditions.

  • Pliny the Elder’s "Natural History": Highlights chamomile’s applications in ancient Roman medicine and its valued status as a healing herb.

  • John Gerard’s "Herball" (1597): Provides detailed descriptions of chamomile’s medicinal properties and its use in traditional English herbal practices.


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